The methods of teaching at university may differ greatly from those you are used to. While at Nottingham you can expect to experience a wide range of methods depending upon which modules are chosen and in which School they are taught.
This is the most common method of teaching and is based on large groups. Lectures draw together the whole group of students taking a particular module in a lecture theatre. The main aim is to impart information in a structured and systematic manner on a particular topic so students can take notes to aid their learning. There may be opportunities for interaction between the lecturer and students via questions, clarification of points and exercises. Ultimately, lectures act as sign-posts for students who can then go and explore in more depth the materials discussed.
Module tutorials are based on small groups of students (normally 12), typically meeting once a fortnight to discuss their work and develop understanding of the subject material. The emphasis in tutorials is on interaction, with the tutor as facilitator. The tutorial is a means of supplementing material covered in lectures and background reading, and aims to broaden the student's horizon through the encouragement of independent thought and debate. The School strongly believes that the tutorial system provides one of the best platforms for learning and providing feedback.
The School operates a system of workshops for quantitative modules. These are generally larger in size than tutorial groups (typically 18 students) and are intended to act as a means of working through set exercises and problem sheets with the Module Tutor.
A number of modules operate seminars as an alternative to tutorials. A seminar is a student-led presentation by a group of approximately 6 students to approximately 12 other students focusing on a particular topic within the content of a module.
Coursework, Essays & Projects
Some modules employ coursework/projects which count towards the final module mark. Projects are normally based on specific topics which complement the main module content and form an integral part of the syllabus. Projects in non-quantitative modules typically consist of an extended essay which requires the student to undertake some library-based research.
Formative essays are an integral part of many of the modules on the degree course, but they do not count in a formal manner to the assessment for modules. The marks achieved, however, are recorded by the Subject Tutor so that progress can be monitored throughout the course.
Coursework provides a means for getting individual feedback on your progress throughout the Semester to ensure material is relevant and well presented. All Module Tutors give constructive comments on written material (not including mathematical problem answers) to help the student develop a sense of how they have done. These comments are very useful in guiding further reading, learning and revision with the ultimate aim of improving student performance. Equally, consultation in tutorials and responses to answers given is an important ongoing aspect of feedback as it gives the student an indication of their understanding.
The vast majority of modules in the School are assessed by exams. Most exams consist of compulsory and optional questions. Compulsory questions allow the candidate to write for either 15 or 30 minutes on a particular topic, briefly defining or explaining a concept or theory etc. Long answers allow the candidate 45 to 60 minutes (depending on the module) to write an essay on a particular issue. Online multiple choice mid-term examinations are used for Introduction to Microeconomics and Macroeconomics in Year One.